I’m very open about my past, specifically last year. It was a rough year, in many ways. I was anxious and depressed, my creativity came in waves so high that I would lose sleep over new ideas, I struggled maintaining friendships and worried constantly about what other people thought of me. Add all of this together, along with a rough patch in my marriage and moving to a new city, and you can imagine how fast, and hard, it all came tumbling down.
It’s easy for me to say that right now, in this moment, I am better than I ever have been in my life, because it’s true. I joke that it’s because of a combination of therapy and medication, but it’s more than that. In the past year, I’ve really started to evaluate how I think and what I think of. By being aware of these things, I can more easily adjust my thinking, which in turn affects my mood and my feelings. Here are a few ways that I have intentionally changed my thinking and my life.
Judging People is Pointless
I have to confess something – I used to be a huge gossip. I think we can all agree that judging other people and talking behind their backs can be validating to us, but at what expense? What really is the point of looking at someone else and judging their actions or their appearance? It may make us feel superior for a few moments, but is that really worth it? We are literally looking at another human being, someone with feelings and thoughts and struggles and triumphs, and proclaiming that we are somehow better than they are.
More than this, however, I don’t understand the point of it. As long as their actions aren’t impacting someone else, how is what they’re doing affecting me? It’s ridiculous; why are we so insulted that someone wore a tacky dress or said the wrong answer? When I really started thinking about it, I realized how stupid it all was. Life is short guys. Spending time thinking negative thoughts about someone else is a waste of energy, and every moment we spend on this earth is valuable.
I Can’t Control What Other People Think of Me
A-freaking-men. I don’t even know how many sleepless nights I spent worried about how someone else perceived me, even someone that didn’t particularly matter in my life.
I can still remember the moment I figured this one out. I was going through all the crap of being in the hospital and trying to dig myself out of a hole, and a friend told me they thought I was sharing too much. That my experience was too personal to be open about it.
I read the text, put it down, and went on my way. I wrote on Tumblr that night, not about what they said, but about my progress and how I was feeling. It was like any “normal” night.
The thing is, for every negative comment I got, like the one from my friend, I received a dozen more in support. I had clients telling me that they appreciated how open I was. I had readers sending me emails about how they can relate, and that I encouraged them to find help and peace. Don’t you see? One person may have looked down on me (see item number one), but I had a world of support out there.
If you haven’t learned this yet in life, you will – everybody is going to have an opinion. EVERYbody is going to think that they know what is best for you and your body. You can make any decision in the world, and you will have people on both sides of the fence. But the fact that they are judging you isn’t your problem. Really, it says far more about them. My mantra these days? You do you.
The Best I Can Do Is My Best
Here’s some hard truth about life: you can’t win them all. I heard a quote recently that says sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. And how true this is.
It’s a conundrum, really. We aren’t going to reach our goals if we don’t take risks, but by taking risks we run the chance that we’ll just fuck everything up. What makes that okay? Our intentions. If we are honestly doing our very best work, then we can’t blame ourselves if something goes wrong. Sure, mistakes happen and like I said in the previous point, we can’t control how other people see us. Communication on projects can get muddled, expectations can be off track, unforeseen circumstances can really screw us over. But the best that we can do is our best, and if that isn’t good enough for someone else? Well, tough shit for them. And please, don’t let anyone make you feel like your best isn’t good enough.
Hard Work Isn’t Everything
I’ll let you in on a little secret – I’m actually reading the Secret right now. I’m not quite sure that I’m actually enjoying it, but it’s definitely interesting. The problem I have with this book is that it’s all about HOW you think; actually putting in the effort to get there isn’t even mentioned. Don’t get me wrong; I firmly believe that how we think, that is, thinking positively rather than negatively, can impact our lives.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, there’s a balance here. Obviously this post is all about how I think, sure, but I’m not going to affect change if I don’t actually put these values into action.
I’m trying to bring this full circle here, and just stick with me for a few sentences longer while I figure this out myself. I suppose I see this entire process as a triangle – (1) HOW we think (2) WHAT we do and (3) … WHERE we are.
Put simply – we can work as hard as we want, but without thinking intentionally, we aren’t going to get anywhere. Taking it one step further, we can work hard, think intentionally, but neither of those are going to matter if we don’t have the privilege of being in a good spot. I would say, don’t take this politically, but I don’t particularly care how you take it. The reality is, where we are in life has a whole lot to do with luck. You may think that working hard can get you out of any hole, but not only is that not true, it’s not fair.
Just be thankful that you have the opportunity to work hard and think intentionally to get where you want to be. I know that I am.